Species profile

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Photo courtesy of Eric Sohn Joo Tan.

Range and abundance

The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo is found in south-eastern Australia, through South Australia, with an isolated population on the Eyre Peninsula, to south and central eastern Queensland.

Description

A large cockatoo, the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo may reach 65 cm in length with mostly black plumage. Most body feathers are edged with yellow and it has large yellow cheek patch and yellow tail panels. Females have brighter cheek patches, a pale-grey eye-ring and dark spotting in the tail panels. Both sexes have a short, erectable crest. In flight, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos flap with a distinctive slow, deep wingbeat. The contact call is a high-pitched and distinctive "kee-ow” but they may utter a raucous screech if alarmed. 

Ecology

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos may be observed in pairs, family trios or small flocks when feeding, but may coalesce in flocks of hundreds outside of the breeding season. Favoured foods are wood-boring larvae found in acacias, eucalypts, she-oaks and grasstrees plus seeds of native trees such as Hakea spp., Banksia spp., and exotic pines. The birds extract the grubs by tearing out the sapwood with their extremely strong beak, and are seasonally migratory to follow food sources. Both sexes construct the nest in a large tree hollow and line it with wood chips. The female incubates the two white eggs while the male supplies her with food. Once hatched, chicks are looked after by their parents for up to six months.

Threats

Habitat fragmentation and loss is a major issue for this cockatoo, as land clearing contributes to loss of food plants and nesting hollows.

 


What is AWC doing?

At Curramore, AWC is restoring forest cover to disturbed and cleared areas that have been invaded by lantana. AWC’s active fire management program should also reduce the potential impacts of wildfires on rainforest and large hollow-bearing trees utilised by this species as breeding sites. A revegetation program has commenced at Dakalanta, which is located on the Eyre Peninsula, which may eventually provide food and habitat for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos.

Did you know:

The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo competes with the Palm Cockatoo as Australia’s largest cockatoo species. Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos reach a greater length, but Palm Cockatoos are heavier.